Devlog #5-From prototype to final game: Dylan’s journey

This is continued from the Devlog posts 2, 3, 4, which catalogs the game’s design and development from 2013 to present!  –by Dylan Grey, Game Designer

After playing in the game in the summer of 2016, I met with Ben Morrow and Maury Brown, designers and producers of the wildly successful blockbuster LARP, New World Magischola, and Maria, Maury’s bright, playful daughter. We tested my game (Maria won), and discussed the possibility of turning it into a Magischola game.

“You don’t need us to make this successful,” Ben said, “but we are thrilled to make this with you.”

That was in August 2016. Ben and Maury wanted to playtest the game at the game designers’ conference, Metatopia, during the first week of November. That meant we were on a fast-track to rewrite the game into the NWM canon. The game was dramatically improved simply by setting it in such a rich, complex universe. It began to simultaneously feel like a full immersion in an existing world, but also became infinitely more accessible to people unfamiliar with Harry Potter.

But…some pieces were working well and some weren’t. We added and later removed score tracks. We sorted out costs and later removed money from the game entirely. We made a great game–but it was still unbalanced.

Maury invited Mike Young (designer of Meteor and Igor: The Mad Scientist’s Lament, among others) to help balance the game. With his help, and a lot of playtesting over the next 7 months at many cons, the game’s mechanics became more streamlined and the gameplay tightened dramatically. His development of the game helped improve the overall player experience. His contributions to House Rivalry made it more accessible to new players, which was one of the best changes the game saw in the development process.

Cas Wormwood, the original artist I met at MISTI-Con and had used to make the only two drawings for my first prototype, is one of the artists for the final game. He is joined by Ffion Evans, who drew the magical creatures for New World Magischola, Lars Bundvad, who drew the House crests, and Dagmara Gąska, who drew the characters and the box art. The team of artists and developers working on this project have brought so much to make this project the fun, competitive, beautiful game it is today.

Ben was correct in that I could have made this game without Magischola. But it wouldn’t be the same. Magischola is the perfect world for House Rivalry–believe me, I’ve tried two others. And, like so many other lovely things in my life, third time’s the charm.

New World Magischola House Rivalry comes to Kickstarter on September 18th!

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